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Hobby vs. Work | How to Be & Feel Productive as a Creative Business Owner



You’re a business owner that has taken your creative hobby and turned it into a business. You have clients, maybe an employee or two and are generally running a successful business. So why do you sometimes feel guilty or like you’re wasting time when you’re actually doing your creative work? You know, the one that’s bringing clients to you and making you money in the first place. For so long designing was just a creative outlet for me. I spent my free time designing new templates or creating a website for a company that didn’t even exist, so when I started Olivia Design & Company, I couldn’t shake the guilty feeling while doing my “hobby” that people were paying me for. To be honest, I still have this issue some days!

Today i’m going to share how you can differentiate between a hobby and a business and tips to use to make your days more productive.

Hobby vs Work

As creatives we tend to have a lot of passions, it’s the usually the question if all of your passions can make you money in your business and if they make sense together, because to be frank, sometimes they just don’t.

First things first, write down all of the creative work you do in your business. Now, circle the work that clients actually pay you for. Everything that you just circled is what you should be concentrating on and everything else is something you can do “after hours”. Spend some time honing in those services to figure out how you can maximize your skills.

For example, I always enjoyed drawing, creating templates and designing websites. When I first started Olivia Design & Company I was taking any work and was spending a lot of time doodling. After a few months I honed in my skills to create services I could off people that would help build their business – Logo Design, Website Design and a la carte options. By separating your services and deciding what you can provide to others gives you the opportunity to turn a hobby into an income.


For me, feeling and staying productive is the hardest part about running a creative business. Because I have so many passions, I find it hard to put them all in the right place to feel productive everyday.

Some tips to staying productive:

  • Write a list before you leave your desk for the day. I can’t tell you enough how much this has helped me! At the end of everyday I check what i’ve completed and then everything that needs to get done the following day. Here I wrote a whole blog post on how you can do this.
  • Use a time tracking tool. I’ve just recently started using Togl and i really like it! Running a service based business can be tough to figure out how much time you’re spending on different tasks because there’s so many (blog posts, social media, client work, invoicing!). Using a time tracking tool helps you keep track and show you how long you’re ACTUALLY spending on each task.
  • Save your hobby for “after hours”. Remember that list you made a few minutes ago with all of your creative work that you can make an income from? Well everything that you didn’t circle, is not work and should be saved for after hours. As in, after work hours, whatever those mean to you! This will shake the guilty feeling and separate your work and hobby.

Trust me, i know this is hard but you just have to make sure that your client work takes precedence over a lot of your other work. I LOVE writing blog posts and scheduling social media, but at the end of the day that’s not what is bringing in new clients. Know that you are not alone and if you work hard to stay productive, you will have a successful business!


April 30, 2018